National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Weather Vane: Model Fire Engine Weather Vane: Model Fire Engine
Rendered by Beverly Chichester (artist), c. 1937
watercolor, gouache, and graphite on paperboard
overall: 45.5 x 73.3 cm (17 15/16 x 28 7/8 in.) Original IAD Object: 50" long
Index of American Design
Not on View
From the Tour: Metalwork from the Index of American Design
Object 13 of 17

Made in the late nineteenth century, this weather vane represents a contemporaneous fire engine. By combining brass, copper, zinc, and iron, the craftsman created a functional yet decorative object. The boiler of the engine is made of brass, while the other engine parts, the men's bodies, and the horses are copper. The heads of the firemen are zinc; the supporting bars are iron painted black. This weather vane may have topped a firehouse. Compared with the simple, stylized forms common in the folk art tradition, the attention to detail marks this fire engine as an unusually fine piece. The craftsman who executed such a work had to be skilled in shaping the metal as well as sensitive to the elements of design.

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